tv Wall Street Week FOX Business April 8, 2017 12:00am-12:31am EDT
>> western civilization and humanity. lou: those are collateral benefits again. it's been a great week for america. that's it for us tonight. thanks for being with us ann coulter and byron york >> was he a lifelong hoarder or a shrewd collector? the answer lies inside this salvage yard filled with rusty old cars. >> did you know how many cars grandpa had? >> the locals say it's a worthless eyesore. >> whoo-hoo! >> his grandson calls it an "iron gold mine." [ auctioneer calling ] which is the truth? we're about to find out. >> sold it! [ door creaks ] [ wind howls ] [ thunder rumbles ] [ bird caws ] >> i'm jamie colby, and i'm just driving in to enid, oklahoma, which is about 90 miles north of oklahoma city.
population -- roughly 50,000. right here in enid, they have the third largest storage capacity for grain on the planet. but wedged in between enid's silos lies the tale of a cantankerous legend who left his grandchildren with a very strange inheritance. >> my name is stuart piontek, and in 2003, my brothers and sisters and i inherited something pretty unusual from my grandfather. his name was oliver jordan, and he died at 95. he was a child of the dust bowl. grandpa would hold on to just about everything that passed through his life, whether it was a tin can, an automobile, a piece of copper wire. >> and oliver jordan kept it all here. for 60 years. this salvage lot was his home, his sanctuary, his fort knox. hi, stuart! >> welcome to paradise. >> i found it! the rusted old cars in this shed -- some of them relics of the roaring '20s -- are a few of
the more than 200 that jordan accumulated over his lifetime. born in 1908, jordan was raised on a wheat farm. but his real interest was that fabulous new invention, the car. >> grandpa was around machinery all the time, and automobiles were just beginning to happen. he got interested, and it was just a lifelong passion. >> jordan grows up, gets married, and then, at 34 years old, abandons his wife and three young kids for a 16-year-old girl in town. >> when my mother and her brother and sister were still children, my grandfather left the family for another woman. her name was ruby, and that was quite a scandal. everybody was hurt by it. >> in 1946, oliver buys a salvage yard in enid, where he and ruby live, and where he makes money selling old cars and parts. oliver runs the salvage yard
successfully for seven years. but then in 1953, he gets into a nasty argument with the town of enid over zoning and regulations -- two words he detests. >> the city came in and told him he had to put in a bathroom and do some other things, and grandpa just didn't like to be told what to do. >> he was just not a rule follower. >> yeah, he was like, "then fine. i'll close the doors." and that's what he did. >> oliver continues to hoard old cars. he cuts himself off from most of his family and rarely lets another soul inside the shuttered salvage yard. >> pretty much everybody in this town would drive by grandpa's property and see all these old cars sitting right there. and some people -- they thought they were an eye sore, you know. >> enid native brad waken recalls venturing over to the old man's place as a very young car buff in the 1970s. >> i walked across the street. it was, "mr. jordan, i'm looking for a starter for a continental six-cylinder engine. do you have one?" well, after a long pause he
basically said, "well, it's gonna be $50." well, came back about a month later with my $50. he said, "nope. $75." [ chuckles ] i learned a little bit of horse trading at that point in time. >> as a boy, stuart never gets to know grandpa oliver. stuart's mom, oliver's daughter, dies when stuart is only six -- a tragedy that separates him further from his grandfather. >> we would come to town to visit my grandfather, and grandpa had all these cars out in front of his property. it's like a little boy's wonderland. and he had them protected with a fence and with big mean dogs. we couldn't get past the dogs. >> did you ever wish that he spent more time with you? >> you know -- >> were you curious about him? >> yeah, i was eager for the opportunity to get to know him. >> after his mother's death, stuart and his family move away. when stuart graduates high
school in 1984, he decides to take a summer road trip back to enid. >> i got a greyhound bus ticket and went out to enid on my own. he took me over to his shop, and for the first time, i got to spend some time with my grandfather. >> and with all those cars. sure, they look like heaps of scrap, but stuart comes to understand this was his grandfather's pride and joy, his collection. its centerpiece -- these two depression-era cords. >> grandpa had a fascination with the cord, because it was the first car that had front-wheel drive, and they had done some really ingenious things under the hood. >> after his high school road trip, stuart heads out west for college and then launches a successful furniture business in san francisco. then, in the fall of 2000, a call from out of the blue sends stuart scrambling back to enid. >> he opens the door [chuckles] and he's covered from head to
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>> so, what was the lowest priced mass-produced american car? it's "b," the 1925 ford model t runabout. at $260, it sold for $5 less than the 1924 model. ♪ >> for half a century, cantankerous junkyard owner oliver jordan accumulates hundreds of old cars, some very rare and mostly intact, but all of them rusting as he grows old. then, in the fall of 2000, his grandson stuart gets a phone call that opens the door to a new relationship and to a strange inheritance. >> ruby, his companion of 60 years, had fallen off a ladder and broken her hip, and she was in the hospital. she called worried about grandpa, because he was back at the house and he was 94 years old. and that was the open door. >> and it took till his 90s,
really. >> yeah, because of who he was. he didn't want to need anybody. >> stuart hops on a plane to oklahoma, not knowing what to expect. >> so, here i knock on the door. he's 6'4", and even at 94, he has got quite a commanding presence. and he opens the door [chuckles] and he's covered from head to toe in feathers. he and ruby had a couple of dogs, and one of the dogs had torn up the feather bed. there was something about him that still just commanded respect, even covered in feathers. >> seeing oliver in such a terrible state, stuart decides to stay in oklahoma for a while and take care of his grandfather. >> i was getting to know my grandfather through these cars. he was so proud to be showing them to me and me experiencing his life's work and his pride and joy. >> to stuart, two things become immediately clear. first, oliver knows he doesn't have much time left. and second, he's worried about the fate of those cars. >> at one point, he said, "thank god for you. thank god for you."
and i think he was so worried about what would happen to his things. >> stuart's no car expert, but he does his homework and confirms that the centerpiece of the whole collection is indeed those cords from the 1930s, the ones he remembers from his high school road trip. what did the last cord sell for? >> i'm not sure, but maybe not more than 400 of these or 500 of these were ever made. >> best-case scenario. >> i'm thinking best-case scenario, restored, is probably $300,000, $350,000 maybe. >> thoughts like that lead stuart down a road that will take him more than a decade to travel and cost him plenty. just for starters, he lays out tens of thousands of dollars to ship in secure containers and build a steel storage building to house the most prized cars. >> it's his life's work, but also if these things are so valuable, why are they just rotting away here, you know? and someone has to step in and do something about it. >> in august 2003, oliver jordan
dies at the age of 95, leaving his enormous automobile collection to stuart and his siblings. >> the original windows that they would stick in the sides... >> stuart tells me this 1924 rollin touring car is one of his personal favorites. the model was popular among bootleggers during prohibition. >> so, there's toggle switches on the dashboard where they would turn off the taillights if they were being followed by somebody. >> to hide the booze. >> that's right. >> but these cars represent just a snippet of oliver's vast collection. i've never seen anything like this, stuart. there are so many cars. >> it's quite a strange thing to inherit, isn't it? >> before he dies, oliver gives stuart some business advice. >> he said, "now, don't sell all of those cars and parts all at once. you sell them one at a time." 'cause you'd make more money that way. >> but after trying to sell a couple online, stuart realizes it would take the rest of his life to sell them one-by-one. turns out just getting the
titles for all these old cars takes months. >> you had to get title to every single one of these cars? they're from the '30s. how do you that? >> let me show you. >> first, you have to find the cars' i.d. numbers. >> oh, my god. you can still read it! >> well, we had to polish it off. but we were able to actually get titles for the majority of the cars. >> the years click by like odometer miles. and stuart keeps spending more to authenticate and protect the old cars. a lot of plane trips from san francisco and back, too. by 2013, he says, he's invested $400,000 getting the collection primed for auction. ready or not, it's time to sell. >> hey, jamie. >> hi. how are you, yvette? stuart contacts auctioneer yvette vanderbrink to appraise the collection. so, is stuart sitting on a pile of junk or a potential gold mine? >> there's about 220 of them. they're mostly american cars,
and they're pre-war, which is pre-1942. very rare cars, 'cause at the start of world war ii, they started limiting production. and you could only get one from a ration coupon. >> stuart and yvette make plans for a one-day auction right here on the salvage lot. word begins to spread about oliver jordan's old treasures. stuart soon learns that's not altogether a good thing. >> we arrived at the property and found someone had cut through the fence and then cut a hole in the side of this building the size of a human body, and they stole over 250 antique radiators, tons of chrome parts, a lot of nice stuff. >> the antique radiators alone are worth nearly $40,000. but the biggest loss for stuart is the theft of oliver's rare and beloved 1904 harley-davidson, possibly worth several hundred thousand dollars. >> so, it really set us back, and we had to hire additional security and we had to move the auction forward.
$11 million. >> stuart piontek is racing to auction off his strange inheritance -- hundreds of vintage cars. his grandfather's lifelong obsession has become stuart's own. he's invested 13 years and $400,000 in the collection. ♪ i catch up with him at the hot rod association rally in oklahoma city. >> hi, my name is stuart. did you know my grandfather? >> while stuart works the crowd, i'm gonna see if i can get behind the wheel of one of these souped-up automobiles. >> how are you doing? hey, i'm jamie. >> hello, jamie. >> how are you? >> hello, i'm steven. >> tell me about this car. >> well it's a '37 chevrolet, so it's 77 years old. so, i've had it quite a bit of it's life. >> part of the family. >> yes, it is. >> oh, my. i've just gotten the keys. >> we can do that. >> let's go. >> all right. >> you have this thing insured? >> yes, i do. >> oh, good thing, because
there's a tree right there. >> all right. hold on. whoo-hoo! now we're talking! [ tires screech ] this would work for me in new york. auctioneer yvette vanderbrink is here, too. so, yvette, you know, you see these shiny red cars, and, i mean, you can tell there must be some value here. but some of them look like junk. but they're not? >> no. they're not junk. you know, it's a different trend in the car-collecting hobby now. >> that trend is called patina. it refers to the factory-original paint that shows the ravages of time. some car collectors resh that vintage, barn-find look and spray a clear coat of varnish on top to preserve it. that could be good news for the rarest cars stuart has -- those two cords from the 1930s. but if you're like me, you're wondering what they might look like restored.
i didn't have to go far to find out. remember brad waken, who once tried to buy a starter from old oliver jordan? he's now a cord aficionado. he's spent over 30 years restoring this cord. it's a stunning example of what a cord looks like in all its glory. >> we went through the engine, we painted it, we fixed the interior. it's something that we looked at restoring history and not just putting on a nice paint job and chroming everything. [ indistinct p.a. announcement ] [ auctioneer calling ] >> on june 7, 2014, it's finally the big day of the auction. >> we're gonna have fun and we're gonna book and i just killed 10 minutes. >> auctioneer yvette vanderbrink welcomes a crowd of at least 300 people. >> hope i covered everything for you. all right? >> stuart's sister starla crosses her fingers. >> it's been a lot of hard work. i hope that stuart just at least
he gets back what he's put into it and that my other siblings, that what they've put into it, they get back. >> all right, guys! this was one of mr. jordan's favorite vehicles. >> stuart's put in 400 grand. will he get it back? >> $35,000. >> i have $40,000. >> $40,000. >> that's next. two become one. then you're a couple. think of all you'll share... like snoring. does your bed do that? the dual adjustability of a sleep number bed allows you each to choose the firmness and comfort you want. so every couple can get the best sleep ever. does your bed do that? for a limited time find clearance
>> now back to "strange inheritance." >> the buzz over oliver jordan's antique-car auction has brought collectors from all over the country to enid, oklahoma. some are just looking to buy parts, but others are here with plenty to spend for just the right vehicle. >> i came with a trailer and a pick-up, and if i have to, i'll run back and get a bigger truck and a bigger trailer to haul more cars. [ auctioneer calling ] >> you have to be quick to
purchase in this game. these cars can go in less than a minute. >> [ calling ] sold it! [ calling ] sold it! sold it! sold it! sold it! $9,600. >> people seem in good spirits, and things seem to moving pretty well, so it's going pretty good. >> stuart's cautiously optimistic as oliver jordan's two beloved cords are about to go up for bid. stuart thinks they'd each be worth six figures if fully restored. but how much in this condition? >> the 1937 cord 812 beverly supercharged. this was one of mr. jordan's favorite vehicles. it's going to need every little piece restored. okay. $35,000. >> i have $40,000. >> $40,000. >> yes! >> now $42,000. [ calling ]
sold it! $42,000. going to new york. >> what will the second cord fetch? >> tara, what do you got? >> i got $20,000. >> $20,000, and we're going. [ calling ] sold it! $22,000. >> it's over in seconds. the same anonymous telephone bidder pays $64,000 for both cars. stuart says he's not disappointed. >> in this condition, that's a great price for them -- as much as we could have hoped for. and it's really great because they're gonna move on. >> after an emotional day, the grand total for this auction -- $540,000. subtract the $400,000 stuart
invested and it's a profit of $140,000 to split with his siblings. add in all that time the family invested in this strange inheritance, and it's no windfall. >> so, here we go. >> whoo-hoo! >> that's a good one. >> all right. >> then again, watching the grandchildren of oliver jordan pop open the bubbly has to make you wonder -- was their 13-year-old enterprise ever really about turning rusted iron into gold? or was it about a different kind of alchemy -- one, perhaps, that restores broken and brittle family ties into strong, lifelong bonds? >> we lost our mother when we were rather young, and we didn't really get to know her parents that well, and so this brought us closer. >> would grandpa -- what would he say? he'd say, "stuart..." >> i think he'd say, "i'm proud of you," you know? >> would that be important for you to hear from your grandfather? >> yeah, definitely.
and that's really what it was about for me -- doing right by him and by my family. >> stuart sold all of his grandpa's cars, and he regretted losing only one -- the 1924 rollin touring car. it was a favorite of prohibition bootleggers, and on auction day, an 86-year-old woman came just to see it. she explained that her grandfather had driven it to the hospital the day she was born and then sold it to oliver jordan. of all the stories about this strange inheritance, this may have been stuart's favorite. so, stuart asked the man that bought the touring car -- for $4,800 -- to let him know if he ever resold it. stuart might want to buy that one back. i'm jamie colby for "strange inheritance." thanks so much for watching, and remember -- you can't take it with you. do you have a strange inheritance story you'd like to
share with us? we'd love to hear it. send me an e-mail or go to our website, strangeinheritance.com. [ cow moos ] >> a montana cowboy inherits a barren patch of prairie. >> this place isn't big enough to starve to death on. >> but beneath the parched soil, he finds prehistoric treasure. >> this is one of the most important discoveries in this century. >> i've got a year to try to see if i can survive with our ranch and selling dinosaur fossils. this is a jaw bone to a tyrannosaurus rex that i found. >> will this cowpoke's strange inheritance lead him to boom... >> whoo! >> [ laughs ] >> ...or bust? >> lightning doesn't strike the same place very often. [ chuckles ] maybe never. ♪